The opening lines of 2 Chainz’s new album B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time are “I had a dream … that rap wouldn’t work.” For Tauheed “2 Chainz” Epps the hip-hop lyricist, rap shouldn’t work. But his solo studio debut, 2012’s Based on a T.R.U. Story was certified Gold by the RIAA. His unforgettable ad-libs (“TRUUU”) crept into the urban lexicon, and his stunningly asinine one-liners (“She had a big booty so I call her big booty”) divided music critics and listeners alike. But 2 Chainz’s success begs the age-old question: How does rap this bad sell records?
2 Chainz goes about answering this question on Me Time the same way he did last year on Based on a T.R.U. Story — by being his usual energetic, hilarious self. There are few, if any, figures in hip hop who play the role of entertainer better than 2 Chainz. The primary concern was that 2 Chainz, like Waka Flocka Flame (Flockaveli followed by the pop-friendly, subpar Triple F Life) before him, would lose the novelty of his act after one studio album. Instead of attempting to pigeonhole his music to fit a wider demographic, 2 Chainz delivers a less inspired yet more polished clone of his studio debut on Me Time.
In an interview with MTV News, the artist formerly known as Tity Boi explained that his music was intended to serve as an escape.
“I feel like when people listen to me, they feel like they’re goin’ somewhere, taking time off; they’re relaxing, lettin’ their hair down,” 2 Chainz said.
Me Time serves that purpose quite well; those who feel burdened by the need to constantly analyze and employ mental faculties while listening to music (people like music reviewers) will certainly appreciate how little there is to think about here: Me Time is a treatise on the incredibly complex lyrical themes of having way too much money and the crippling, Prince Hamlet-esque moral quandary that comes with having to choose from too many potential sexual partners.
Those who grew accustomed to 2 Chainz’s lyrical mastery on Based on a T.R.U. Story will not go wanting on Me Time. On “Fork,” producer Mike WiLL Made It employs a menacing, ballgame-gone-ratchet organ line that glides over skittering drums and a pounding bass line. 2 Chainz is also in trademark lyrical form, bemoaning the fact that he has “so much money on [him] it won’t even fold,” and taking the time to acknowledge his household appliances (“My stove deserve a shout out / I’m like what up stove?”).
When 2 Chainz isn’t suggesting that he and a potential partner “make a sex tape and put it on Netflix” over the sparkling synths of the Fergie-featuring “Netflix,” he’s offering lessons on weight conversions on “36” (“That’s how many ounces in a briiiick”). The album’s highlights include the Shawty Redd-produced “I Do It,” where guests Lil Wayne and Drake are in fine form on the track. Wayne is especially impressive, weaving his verse into the end of Drake’s and sounding more engaged in one-and-a-half verses as a featuring artist than he has on any track off Dedication 5 or I Am Not a Human Being II.
The posse cut features the three artists attempting to outdo each other and interrupting one another’s verses over repetitive, high-pitched synths and breakneck bass drum kicks. The beat’s frenetic energy recalls Lex Luger’s work on Waka Flocka Flame’s Flockaveli, and the verses on “I Do It” match Flocka’s zest for violence bar-for-bar, with Wayne rapping “I just built a cemetery, n—-s dyyyying to get in.”
2 Chainz errs dangerously close to topical territory with the single “Feds Watching,” though any worries of a piercing lyrical analysis of NSA surveillance policies are quickly addressed when Mr. Chainz assures us that he’s “Smoking California weed with California h-es.”
Nobody seems to enjoy rapping about the same three things in a million different ways more than 2 Chainz. It’s a shame that Me Time doesn’t have the same club-banging potential of its predecessor; few of these tracks, if any, will come close to matching the impact of 2012’s “I’m Different” or “Birthday Song.”
In a bit of news that probably makes sense to no one, 2 Chainz is offering those who purchase a deluxe edition of Me Time a copy of #Mealtime, a mini-cookbook of healthy recipes developed by his tour chef, Chef Aleem. 2 Chainz, who suffers from acid reflux disease and ulcers, steers clear of red meat and pork in his diet and the recipes are for the specific foods he enjoys while on tour.
It takes a special kind of person to release a 28-page cookbook as a supplement to a rap album; then again, it would probably take the same person who got away with making people spend $15.99 on an album that contains the line “I hope you get testicular cancer in the brain.” There’s no need to worry, though — after listening through Me Time, there shouldn’t be too many brain cells left.
Follow Euno on Twitter @eunowhat